State to take over Maribor Airport


The Slovenian government has announced that the state-owned DRI consulting and engineering company, which specialises in infrastructure projects, will take over the management of Maribor Edvard Rusjan Airport as a stop-gap solution after the current operator's lease prematurely ends on July 15. The decision comes after the Chinese-backed airport operator SHS announced in January it was invoking a six-month notice and terminating its fifteen-year lease agreement it signed in 2017 due to delays in receiving necessary state approval for its ambitious 660 million euro airport expansion project. SHS had previously failed to deliver on many of the development plans it envisaged for Maribor Airport.

The lease transfer to DRI will see Slovenia avoid paying several million euros in penalties to the European Union. The EU invested six million euros into Maribor Airport's terminal building under the condition it remains operational until at least November 2021. Had a new operator not been found, the airport would have been closed and the government would have been obligated to pay back all of the EU funds. The Slovenian Minister for Infrastructure, Alenka Bratušek, said this was just a stop-gap solution as the state had no intention of managing the airport in the long-run. "The long-term options involve either finding a new operator or selling the airport. I believe the first option is more likely", Ms Bratušek said. She added, "I do wonder how such a bad partner had been chosen to operate the airport in the first place".

Maribor Airport currently has no scheduled commercial flights. However, it is utilised by several companies including Medical Helicopter Emergency Services and the ACC Air School. Edvard Rusjan Airport has been without any scheduled commercial flights since VLM Airlines, which was formerly owned by SHS, went into liquidation last September. The carrier initially planned to link Maribor with Belgrade, Berlin, Hamburg, London, Podgorica, Zurich, Xi'an, Chongqing and Nanchang, however, none of the routes materialised. In 2017, SHS outlined plans to invest hundreds of millions of euros into Maribor Airport by extending its runway and overhauling its facilities, after which, it said, services to China would commence.




Comments

  1. Best solution considering the circumstances.

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  2. They should have offered it to Fraport.

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    Replies
    1. I think Fraport could have used it as a low cost airport.

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    2. Low-cost for which airport? I am asking since LJU has a booming LCC presence.

      MBX needs to be shut down, this will yet another burden on the Slovenian taxpayers.

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    3. Fraport is not interested. They sold their stake in Portoroz Airport a few years ago.

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    4. Offered? Like they sold LJU? Still someone thinks that was a good idea?

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  3. The same should be done with Adria.

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    Replies
    1. Just those pesky EU laws forbidding continuous subsidising of airlines get in the way...

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    2. The EU does not forbid state ownership of airlines.

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    3. What makes you think that state ownership of Adria would be possible WITHOUT state subsidies?
      Has ANY other country in our region or anywhere else in the Balkans managed that?
      Didn't state ownership of Adria by the government of Slovenia taught us anything?

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    4. It thought about incompetence, corruption and political flaws of portfolio with +20 state owned companies

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  4. They should give some subsidies to wizz/ryanair to start flights to Maribor ! I would say Barcelona, Stockholm, London, Paris would work !

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    1. I agree completely. What Serbia did for Niš, Slovenia could do for Maribor.

      Haplek

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    2. Why doesn't the Slovenian government offer subsidies but only for routes that are not served from LJU or that have more than daily flights from LJU.

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    3. Does anyone know why MBX struggles to find airlines to fly there?

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    4. Yes it does. But for the time being this is only in case of LJU. Hopefully they implement something like this for MBX as well when they take over the airport.

      Haplek

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    5. Bad management.

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  5. Televisa presenta...

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  6. Replies
    1. This could be a good opportunity for MBX. Hope for the best.

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  7. Watch this short-term solution become a long-term solution.

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    Replies
    1. Most likely. I don't see who would want this airport with no flights sandwiched between much bigger ones.

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    2. Tuzla is sandwiched between bigger airport but has done well.

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    3. Yes but you forget that Sarajevo lacks flights to many major European cities, which is not the case with Ljubljana.

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    4. Yes but MBX is more comparable to OSI rather than TZL. OSI failed as an airport the same way MBX will.

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    5. MBX is located on the crossroad LJU-ZAG-GRZ-VIE-BUD, perfect location!, There is no Ryanair flights more than 200 km away, nearest is Trieste 250km away, Ryanair and Volorea must be interested in such location, because there is also no low cost flights from KLU and GRZ. As an aside there is a lot of Italian tourist in summer in Maribor, so flights e.g. BGY or FCO could be profitable, also flights to MAD or BCN since there is no flights to this region. But I have to metion that Slovenia is very closed country,the black hole in the middle of EU, AND IS THE ONLY MEMEBER OF THE EU WHERE RYANAIR DO NOT FLY!

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    6. +1
      Last Anon

      Haplek

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    7. FY već je letio iz KLU i GRZ. Pitanje je zašto su prestali

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    8. It's all about incompetence, corruption, political meddling, ... the list goes on and on. Yes, it may have a bright future, the good people of MBX and it's beautiful asurroundings and countryside deserve it, but there is always "the human factor" and BBF (Bolshevik Business Forever).

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  8. "I do wonder how such a bad partner had been chosen to operate the airport in the first place"

    Bingo! This should be investigated.

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  9. Well I hope they are a bit more careful and smart when choosing the next partner.

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    Replies
    1. I fear there won't be any other partner.

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  10. A dobro. Ako Maribor uđe u Ligu prvaka to su 3 leta više, znači rast od 300%. Pa kad bi još i papa opet došao u Maribor...

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    Replies
    1. It's easy to have 300% growth, when you have 10 passengers per month.

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    2. Dečko. Uzmi riječnik stranih riječi i potraži riječ: IRONIJA

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  11. Good luck to Maribor. An airport with such a nice terminal deserves some action.

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  12. Maribor needs someone like Ryanair or Wizz Air.

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    Replies
    1. Maribor needs nobody. Graz Airport does the job.

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    2. Or a bus transfer to Ljubljana :)

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    3. Well they had Ryanair for a short period.

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  13. MBX is the most underrated airport in EX-YU.

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    Replies
    1. The most over-rated more likely. It would have never existes in the first place if it wasn't for the hard border between Yugoslavia and developed world.

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  14. MBX is perfect for Ryan, not sure why they left. They could cover 1.5m+ people within 2hr drive: Maribor,Celje,Ljubljana,Graz,Zagreb .

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    Replies
    1. Ryanair will come when the airport/city/region/someone like that will cough up some cash.

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    2. Or they can add another flight to Bucharest, which covers 10+ mio.

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  15. I hope that this brings some flights to Maribor though I think its unlikely. Maybe it could be used as an alternate ski season airport?

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  16. - LH or JP to MUC
    - Wizz or easyJet to LON
    - few charter for ski resorts and few charters for summer tourist to Turky, Egipt and Greece
    - few business planes (they should have much lower prices than Graz to atract planes to come not just for Maribor aria)
    - sport planes

    ...and, well, it can be cute little airport.

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    Replies
    1. what about low cost player that would take over some traffic from ZAG/GRZ/RJK? To Spain, Portugal, Israel.... and of course LON and PAR.

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    2. What about flight to Belgrade as it used to have many flights to BEG and flights were always full( i was the witness of it).

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    3. Yes, everyone talks about huge airpot or nothing...
      But why not small and beautiful? Just big enough to cover costs...

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  17. Look at Trieste airport. It is close to LJU, VCE, TSF and PUY, but it still runs its bussiness successfuly. Same should Maribor do.

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  18. Considering their recent expansion, could we see Air Serbia launch flights to Maribor?

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    Replies
    1. I think we could. Maribor could become the next BNX.

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  19. Anyone have more info on this DRI company?

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    1. Government-owned engineering company mostly working on infrastructure projects (road, railway). Zero experience in aviation.

      Plan is to keep MBX open until 2021 to keep EU happy and then close it. They will likely not be interested in commercial part of the airport.

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  20. Would there be any hope of getting someone like Volotea interested in this airport, and connect it to Western or Southern France, Southern Italy, or anywhere in Spain that's not MAD or BCN? No airports close by have direct connections to any of these locations... Surely the good road network in Slovenia would enable many pax to arrive there with ease from neighboring countries, especially if we have the more industrious airport transfer companies in mind.

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  21. EU is really throwing away money. Six million euros for nothing. Give them more. How much moretaxpayers money monthly to support this ghost airport?

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    Replies
    1. According to the local newspaper "Vecer" they got 10.5 million euros from the EU (for the renovation of the terminal). Currently 23 persons are employed at the ghost airport and they will continue their job.

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  22. Who OWNS the airport? I thought the Chinese bought it from Delavska hranilnica and as such will still own it but with another, seemingly this government department, operating it?

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  23. Another useless facility in the region. Very similar to Rijeka, if I may say. The only difference is, Croatian government pays millions every year to keep Rijeka airport operational for 150,000 passengers, while Slovenes are not paying anything (it is not a government obligation to make everyone fly using taxpayers' money, there are other ways of transportation in the world).

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